What do I need to know when looking for a fish oil for my Child?

What should I look for in a fish oil supplement for my child?

Make sure the fish oil supplement contains antioxidants to help keep the supplement fresh. Choose supplements containing purified fish oil that is regularly tested for mercury, pesticides, and other contaminants.
How much fish oil does my child need?

Generally speaking, 250-500 mg/day for children between 2 to 6 years, and 500 to 1,000 mg/day for children 6 to 12 years. Your child's healthcare provider may adjust these amounts. Choose a product that contains both EPA and DHA essential fatty acids.

Should my child take fish oil supplements if he eats fish?

That depends on how much fish he consumes. There are big differences in the amount of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in fish sticks and fresh cooked salmon (see table on the reverse side). Most children and adults don't get enough omega-3 essential fatty acids and could benefit from supplementation in the long term.

How can I get my child to take the supplement?

Look for a product that advertises no fishy aftertaste. Both small flavored capsules, which can be swallowed or chewed, and fresh tasting flavored liquids are available.

Will the supplement interfere with the other medications my child takes?

Much of the research on the impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids supplements was completed in children who were taking medication for their learning problems/attention deficits. In all of the studies, taking the fish oil supplement showed measurable improvement, without negative side effects or interference with the children's other medications.

Omega 3 Content of Foods & Supplements
Omega 3 Fish sticks* 
(2 oz)
Canned, water pack &
drained tuna* (2 oz)
Fresh, cooked Chinook 
salmon* (2 oz)
Children's fish oil 
capsule (1)
EPA (mg) 49 131 567 75
DHA (mg) 73 353 410 250
*Source of food data: USDA National Nutrient Database, www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/